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UNDER THE YOKE 

BY HENRY W. NEVINSON 



If ever there was a nation which ought to have a fellow- 
feeling with subject races it is the inhabitants of Eng- 
land. I have heard of no land so frequently subjected, 
unless, perhaps, it were northern India. Eound- headed 
builders of round tombs were subjected by long - headed 
builders of long tombs; and long-headed builders of tombs 
were subjected by builders of Stonehenge ; for five hundred 
years the builders of Stonehenge were a subject race to 
Borne; Roman-British civilization was subjected to barbar- 
ous Jutes and heavy Saxons; Britons, Jutes and Saxons 
became the subjects of Danes; Britons, Jutes, Saxons and 
Danes lay as one subject race at the feet of the Normans. 
As far as subjection goes, English history is like a house 
that Jack built : 

" This is the Norman nobly born, 
Who conquered the Dane that drank from a horn, 
Who harried the Saxon's kine and corn, 
Who banished the Roman all forlorn, 
Who tidied the Celt so tattered and torn," 

and so on, back to the prehistoric Jack who built the round 
house of the dead. 

Our later subjections to the French, the Scots, the Dutch 
and the Germans, who have in turn ruled our courts and 
fattened on their favors, have not been so violent or so com- 
plete; but for some centuries they depressed our people 
with a sense of humiliation, and they have left their mark 
upon our national character and language. Indeed, our 
language is a synopsis of conquests, a stratification of sub- 
jections. We can hardly speak a sentence without recording 
a certain number of the subject races from which we have 
sprung. The only one ever left out is the British, and that 
survives in the names of our most beautiful rivers and 



UNDER THE YOKE 249 

mountains. It is true that all of our conquerors have come 
to stay — all with the one exception of Rome. "We have never 
formed part of a distant and foreign empire except the 
Roman. Even our Norman invaders soon regarded our 
country as the center of their power and not as a province. 
Nevertheless, nearly every branch of our interwoven an- 
cestry has at one time or other suffered as a subject race, 
and perhaps from that source we derive the quality that 
Mark Twain perceived when at the Jubilee Procession of 
our Empire he observed, " Blessed are the meek, for they 
shall inherit the earth." Perhaps also for this reason we 
raise the Recessional prayer for a humble and a contrite 
heart, lest we forget our history — lest we forget. 

"We pray in contrite humility to remember, but we have 
forgotten. In speaking lately of Finland's loss of liberty, 
Madame Malmberg, the Finnish patriot, said that in old 
days, when their liberties seemed secure, the Finns felt no 
sympathy with other nationalities — the Poles, the Georgians, 
or the Russians themselves — struggling to be free. They 
did not know what it was to be a subject race. They could 
not realize the degrading loss of nationality. They were 
soon to learn, and they know how. We have not learned. 
We have forgotten our lesson. That is why we remain so 
indifferent to the cry of freedom and to the suppression of 
nationality all over the world. Let us for a moment im- 
agine that something terrible has happened ; that our states- 
men have at last got their addition sums in Dreadnoughts 
right, and have learned by hard experience that we have 
less than two to one and therefore are wiped from the seas ; 
or that our august Russian ally, using Finland as a base, 
has established an immense naval port in the Norwegian 
fiords and thence poured the Tartar and Cossack hordes over 
our islands. Let us imagine anything that might leave some 
dominant Power supreme in London and reduce us for the 
sixth or seventh time to the position of a subject race. 
Where should we feel the difference most? Let us suppose 
that the conqueror retained our country as part of his em- 
pire, just as we have retained Ireland, India, Egypt and 
the South- African Dutch republics; or as Russia has re- 
tained Poland, Georgia, Finland, the Baltic Provinces and 
Siberia, and is on the point of retaining Persia ; or as Ger- 
many has retained Poland and Alsace - Lorraine ; or as 
France has retained Tonquin and an enormous empire in 



250 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW 

northwest Africa and is on the point of retaining Morocco ; 
or as Austria has retained Bohemia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, 
Croatia, and many other nationalities. Let us only judge 
of what might happen to us by observing what is actually 
happening in other instances at this moment. 

The dominant Power — let us call it Germany for short and 
merely as an illustration — would at once appoint its own 
subjects to all the high positions of State. England would 
be divided into four sections under German Governor-Gen- 
erals and there would be German Governor - Generals in 
Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Germans would be appointed 
as District Commissioners to collect revenue, try cases, and 
control the police. A Council of Germans, with a proportion 
of nominated British lords and squires, would legislate for 
each province, and perhaps, after a century or so, as a great 
concession a small franchise might be granted, with special 
advantages to Presbyterians, the German Governor-General 
retaining the right to reject any candidate and to veto all 
legislation. A German Viceroy, surrounded by a Council 
in which the majority was always German, and the chief 
offices of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Commander-in-Chief 
of the army, and so forth, were always filled by Germans, 
would hold a Court at Windsor and Buckingham Palace. We 
should have to undertake the support of Lutheran Churches 
for the spiritual consolation of our rulers. We should be 
given a German Lord Mayor. German would be the official 
language of the country, though interpreters might be allow- 
ed in the law courts. Public examinations would be conducted 
in German, and all candidates for the highest civilian posts 
would have to go to Germany to be educated. The leading 
newspapers would be published in German and a strict 
censorship established over the Times and other rebellious 
organs. The smallest criticism of the German Government 
would be prosecuted as sedition. English papers would be 
confiscated, English editors heavily fined or imprisoned, 
English speakers deported to the Orkneys without trial or 
cause shown. Writers on liberty, such as Milton, Words- 
worth, Shelley, Burke, Mill and Lord Morley, would be 
forbidden. The works of even German authors like Schiller, 
Heine and Karl Marx would be prohibited, and a pamphlet 
written by a German and founded on official evidence to 
prove thenn justice and tortures to which the English people 



UNDER THE YOKE 251 

were exposed under the German system of police would be 
destroyed. On our railways English gentlemen and ladies 
would be expected to travel second or third class, or, if they 
traveled first, they would be exposed to Teutonic insolence 
and would probably be turned out by some German official. 
Public buildings would be erected in the German style. Eng- 
lish manufacturers and all industries would be hampered by 
an elaborate system of excise which would flood our markets 
with German goods. Such art as England possesses would 
disappear. Arms would be prohibited. The common people, 
especially in Scotland and the northwest provinces, would 
be encouraged to recruit in the native army under the com- 
mand of German officers, and the Scottish regiments would 
maintain their proud tradition ; but no British officer would 
be allowed to rise above the rank of sergeant-major. The 
Territorials would be disbanded. The Boy Scouts would 
be declared seditious associations. If a party of German 
officers went fox- shooting in Leicestershire, and the villagers 
resisted the slaughter of the sacred animal, some of the 
leading villagers would be hanged and others flogged during 
the execution. Our National Anthem would begin: " God 
save our German king ! Long live our foreign king ! ' ' The 
singing of " Eule, Britannia," would be regarded as a 
seditious act. 

I am not saying that so complete a subjection is possible. 
We believe that in a powerful, wealthy, proud and highly 
civilized country like ours it would not be possible. All I say 
is that, if we assume it possible, something like that would 
be our condition if we were treated by the dominant Power 
as we ourselves are treating other races which were power- 
ful, wealthy, proud and, in their own estimation, highly 
civilized when we invaded or otherwise obtained the mastery 
over them. I am only trying to suggest to ourselves the 
mood and feelings of a subject race — the humble and con- 
trite heart for which we pray as God's ancient sacrifice. If 
we wish to be done by as we do, these are some incidents in 
the government we should lie under when we were reduced 
beneath a dominant power, as India and Egypt are re- 
duced beneath ourselves. I have not taken the worst in- 
stances of the treatment of subject races I could find. I have 
not spoken of the old methods of partial or complete ex- 
termination whether in Roman Europe or Spanish and Brit- 
ish Americas; nor have I spoken of the partial or complete 



252 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW 

enslavement of subject races in the Dutch, British, Portu- 
guese, Belgian and French regions of Africa. I have not 
dwelt upon the hideous scenes of massacre, torture, devasta- 
tion and lust which I have myself witnessed in Macedonia 
under the Turks and in the Caucasus, the Baltic Provinces 
and Poland under Russia when subject races attempted some 
poor effort to regain their freedom. I have not even men- 
tioned the old ruin and slaughter of Ireland or the latest 
murder of a nation in Finland. I have taken my comparison 
from the government of subject races at what is probably 
its very best; at all events, at what the English people re- 
gard as its best — the administration of India and Egypt — 
and we have no reason to suppose that Germany would ad- 
minister England better if we were a subject race under the 
German Empire. 

If Germany did as well she would have something to say 
for herself. She might lay stress on the great material ad- 
vantages she would bestow on this country. Such industries 
as she left us she would reorganize on the Kartel system. 
She would much improve our railways by unifying them as 
a State property, so that even our southeastern trains might 
arrive in time. She would overhaul our education, ending 
tbe long wrangle between religious sects by abolishing all 
distinctions. She would erect an entirely new standard of 
knowledge, especially in natural science, chemistry and book- 
keeping. She would institute special classes for prospective 
chauffeurs and commercial travelers. She would abolish 
Eton, Harrow and the other public schools, together with 
the college buildings of Oxford and Cambridge, converting 
them all into barracks, while the students would find their 
own lodgings in the towns and stand on far greater equality 
in regard to wealth. German is not a very beautiful lan- 
guage, but it has a literature, and we should have the advan- 
tage of speaking German and learning something of German 
literature and history. Great improvements would be intro- 
duced in sanitation, town-planning and municipal govern 
ment, and we should all learn to eat black bread, which is 
much more wholesome than white. 

In a large part of the country peasant proprietors would 
be established, and the peasants as a whole would be far 
better protected against the exactions and petty tyranny of 
the landlords than they are at present. Under the pressure 



UNDER THE YOKE 253 

of external rule, all the troublesome divisions and small 
animosities between English, Scotch, Irish and "Welsh would 
tend to disappear, though the Germans might show special 
favor to the Scotch and Presbyterians generally on the prin- 
ciple of " Divide and Rule," just as we show special favor 
to the Mohammedans of India. "We should, of course, be 
compelled to contribute to the defense of the Empire and 
should pay the expenses of the large German garrisons 
quartered in our midst and of the German cruisers that 
patrolled our shores. But as we should have no fleet of our 
own to maintain, and in case of foreign aggression could 
draw upon the vast resources of the German Empire, our 
taxation for defense would probably be considerably reduced 
from its present figure of about seventy millions a year. 

That, I think, is an impartial statement of the reasons 
which some dominant Power, such as Germany, might fairly 
advance in defense of her rule if we were included in a for- 
eign Empire. At all events, they very closely resemble the 
reasons we put forward to glorify the services of our Em- 
pire .to India and Egypt. I suppose also that the Fabians 
among ourselves would support the foreign domination, just 
as their leaders supported the overthrow of the Boer repub- 
lics, on the ground that larger states bring the Fabian — 
the very Fabian — revolution nearer. And, perhaps, the 
Social Democrats would support it by an extension of their 
theory that the social millennium can best arrive from a 
condition of general enslavement. The Cosmopolitans would 
support it as tending to obliterate the old-fashioned distinc- 
tions of nationality that impede the unity of mankind, while 
a'host of German pedants and poets would pour out libraries 
in praise of the Anglo-Teutonic races united at last in irre- 
sistible brotherhood and standing ready to take up the Teu- 
ton 's burden imposed upon the Blood by the special or- 
dinance of the Lord. 

The parallel is false, you may say; the conditions are not 
the same; in spite of all material and educational advan- 
tages, we in England would never endure such subjection; 
we should Jive in a state of perpetual rebellion; our 
troops would mutiny; much as we all detest assassination, 
the lives of our foreign Governors would hardly be secure. 
I agree. I hope there is implanted in all of us such a hatred 
of subjection that we should conspire to die rather than 
endure it. I only wish to suggest to you the mood of a 



254 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW 

subject race, tinder the best actual conditions of subjec- 
tion — to suggest that other peoples may possibly feel an 
equal hatred toward foreign domination — and to supply in 
ourselves something of that imaginative sympathy which 
Madame Malmberg tells us the Finns only learned after 
their own freedom had been overthrown. 

We feel at once that something far more valuable than all 
the material, or even moral, advantages which a dominant 
Power might give us would be involved in the overthrow of 
our independent nationality. That something is nationality 
itself. But what is nationality? As Dr. Johnson said of the 
camel, it is difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. 
Or, as St. Augustine said of Time, ' ' I know what it is when 
you don't ask me." Nationality implies a stock or race, 
an inborn temperament, with certain instincts and capaci- 
ties. It is the slow production of forgotten movements 
and obscure endeavors that cannot be repeated or restored. 
It is sanctified by the long struggles of growth and by 
the affection that has gathered round its history. If na- 
tionality has kindled and maintained the light of freedom, 
it is illuminated by a glory that transforms mountain pov- 
erty into splendor. If it has endured tyranny, its people 
are welded together by a common suffering and a com- 
mon indignation. At the lowest the people of the same 
nationality have their customs, their religion, generally 
their language — that most intimate bond — and always the 
familiar outward scenes of earth and water, hill and 
plain and sky breathing with memories. Nationality en- 
ters into the soul of each man or woman who pos- 
sesses it. Mr. Chesterton at a recent conference well de- 
scribed it as a sacrament. It is a silent oath, an invisible 
mark. Life receives from it a particular color. It is felt as 
an influence in action and in emotion, almost in every thought. 
In freedom it sustains conduct with a proud assurance of 
community and reputation. Under oppression, it may fuse 
all the pleasant uses of existence into one consuming channel 
of fanatical devotion. It has inspired the noblest literature 
and all the finest forms of art. Chiefly in countries where 
the flame of nationality burned strong and clear has the 
human mind achieved its greatest miracles of beauty, 
thought and invention. Nationality possesses that daemonic 
and incalculable quality from which almost anything may 
be expected in the way of marvel, just as certain spiky plants 



UNDER THE YOKE 255 

that have not varied winter or summer for years in their 
habitual unattractiveness will suddenly shoot up a ten-foot 
spire of radiant blossom abounding in honey. Chiefly by na- 
tionality has the human race been preserved from the dreari- 
ness of ant-like uniformity and has retained the power of 
variation which appears to be essential for the highest de- 
velopment of life. With what pleasure, during our travels, 
we discover the evidences of nationality even in such things 
as dress, ornaments, food, songs and dancing; still more in 
thought, speech, proverbs, literature, music and the higher 
arts! With what regret we see those characteristics swept 
away by the advancing tide of dominant monotony and 
Imperial dullness ! The loss may seem trivial compared with 
the loss of personal or political freedom, but it is not trivial. 
It is a symptom of spiritual ruin. How deep a degradation 
of intellect and personality is shown by the introduction of 
English music-hall songs among a highly poetic people like 
the Irish, or by the vulgar corruption of India 's superb man- 
ufactures and forms of art under the blight of British com- 
merce! You know the Persian carpets, of what magical 
beauty they are in design and color. When I was on the 
borders of Persia four years ago the Persian carpet mer- 
chants were selling one kind of carpet with a huge red lion 
being shot by a sportsman in the middle of it to please the 
English, and another kind decorated with a Parisian lady 
in a motor to please the Russians. From those carpets one 
may realize what the English Government's acquiescence in 
the subjection of Persia really involves. 

No subject race can entirely escape this degradation. No 
matter how good the government may be or how protective, 
all forms of subjection involve a certain loss of manhood. 
Under an alien Power the nature of the subject nationality 
becomes soft and dependent. Instead of working out its 
own salvation, it looks to the government for direction or 
assistance in every difficulty. Atrophy destroys its power of 
action. It loses the political sense and grows incapable of 
self-help or self-reliance. The stronger faculties, if not ex- 
tinguished, become mutilated. In Ireland, even to-day, we see 
the result of domination in the continued belief that the 
British Government which has brought the country to ruin 
possesses the sole power of restoring it to prosperity. In 
India we see a people so enervated by alien and paternal 
government that they have hardly the courage or energy to 



256 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW 

take up such small responsibilities in local government as 
may be granted them. This is what a true Liberal states- 
man, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, meant by his wise 
saying that self-government is better than good government. 
And it might be further illustrated by the present condition 
of the largest subject race in the world — the race of women 
— to whom all the protective legislation and boasted chivalry 
and lap-dog petting, fondly supposed to be lavished upon 
them by men, are not to be compared in personal value with 
just the small right to a voice in the management of their 
own and national affairs. 

Such mutilation of character is the penalty of subjection 
at its best. At its worst the subject race pays the penalty 
in tormenting rancor, undying hatred, and the savage in- 
dignation that tears the heart. It may be said that indigna- 
tion is at all events better than loss of manhood, and I en- 
tirely agree. Where there is despotism it may well be that 
for this reason a cruel despotism is less harmful than a 
paternal despotism — less harmful, I mean, to the individual 
soul, which is the only thing that counts. But the soul that 
is choked by hatred and torn by indignation is not at its best. 
Its functions go wrong, its sight is distorted, its judgment 
perturbed, its sweetness poisoned, its laughter killed. The 
whole being suffers and is changed. For a time it may blaze 
with a fierce, a magnificent intensity. But we talk of a 
" consuming rage," and the phrase is profoundly true. 
Rage is a consuming fire, always a glorious fire, a wild 
beacon in the night of darkness, but it consumes to ashes the 
nature that is its fuel. 

Loss of manhood or perpetual rancor — those are the pen- 
alties imposed on the soul of a subject race. Nor does the 
dominant race escape scot free. Far from it. On the whole, 
it suffers a deeper degradation. A dominant race, like a 
domineering person, is always disagreeable and always a 
bore, and the nearer it is to the scene of domination the 
more disagreeable and wearisome it becomes, just as a tyran- 
nical man is worst at home. I have known English people 
start as quiet, pleasing, modest and amiable passengers in 
a P. & O. from Marseilles, but become less endurable every 
twenty-four hours of the fortnight to Bombay. There are 
noble and conspicuous exceptions alike in the army, the 
Indian Civil Service, and among the officers scattered over 
the Empire. But, as a rule, we may say that the worst char- 



UNDER THE YOKE 257 

acteristics not only of our own but of all dominant races, 
such as the French, Germans and Russians, are displayed 
among their subject peoples. If, indeed, the subjects are on a 
level with spaniels that can be beaten or patted alternately 
and retain an equal affection and respect, the English son 
of squires thoroughly enjoys his position and does the beat- 
ing and patting well. But it is always with a certain loss 
of humor and common humanity; it brings a kind of stiff- 
ness and pedantry such as Charles Lamb complained of in 
the old-fashioned type of schoolmaster. It exaggerates a 
sense of Heaven-born superiority which, Heaven knows ! the 
English squire has no need to exaggerate. 

I am not one of those who set out to ' ' crab ' ' my country- 
men. We have lately had so much criticism and contempt 
poured upon us by more intelligent people like the Irish, 
the Germans and the ex-President of the United States that 
sometimes I have been driven to wonder whether we may not 
somewhere possess some element worthy of respect. But, 
keeping the lash in our own discriminating hands, we should 
probably all admit that in regard to other people's feelings 
and ideas we are rather insensitive as a nation. This form 
of unimaginative obtuseness undoubtedly increased during 
the extension of our grip upon subject races between the 
overthrow of Gladstone's first Home Rule Bill and the end 
of the Boer war. Perhaps those fifteen years were the most 
entirely vulgar period of our history, and vulgarity springs 
from an insensitive condition of mind. It will be a terrible 
recompense if the price of our world-wide Empire is an 
Imperial vulgarity upon which the sun never sets. 

There is another danger, not so subtle and pervading, but 
more likely to escape the notice of people who are not them- 
selves acquainted with the frontiers of Empire. It is the 
production and encouragement of a set of scoundrels and 
wasters who trade upon our country's prestige to rob, harry 
and even enslave the members of a subject race while they 
pose as the pioneers of Empire and are held up by senti- 
mental travelers, like Mr. Roosevelt, as examples of tough- 
ness and courage to the victims of monotonous toil who live 
at home at ease. There is no call either for Mr. Roosevelt's 
pity or admiration. I have known those wasters well and 
have studied all their tricks for turning a dirty half-crown. 
They enjoy more pleasure and greater ease in a day than 
any London shop assistant or bank clerk in a month. They 
vol. cxciv. — no. 669 17 



258 THE NOETH AMERICAN EEVIEW 

take up the white man's burden and find it light, because it 
is the black man who carries it. Of all the impostors that 
nestle under our flag, I have found none more contented with 
their lot or more harmful to our national repute than the 
" toughs " who devour our subject races and stand in photo- 
graphic attitudes for Mr. Kipling to slobber over. These 
scoundrels and wasters are a far worse evil than most people 
think, for they erect a false ideal which easily corrupts 
youth with its attraction, and they furnish ready instru- 
ments for land-grabbers and company directors, as is too 
often seen in their onslaughts upon Zulus, Basutos and 
other half-savage peoples whom they desire to exterminate 
or enslave. They are a singularly poisonous by-product of 
Empire, all the more poisonous for their brag; and though 
they belong to the class whom their relations gladly con- 
tribute to emigrate, they are far worse employed in debauch- 
ing and plundering our so-called fellow-subjects in Africa 
than they would be in the brothels, gambling-dens, pigeon- 
shooting inclosures, workhouses, and jails of their native 
land. Of course, it is very useful to have dumping-grounds 
for our wasters, and it is pleasant to reflect upon the seven 
thousand miles of sea between one's self and one's worthless 
nephew, but a dumping-ground for nepotism can scarcely be 
considered the noblest object of conquest. 

Why is it, then, that one nation desires to subjugate anoth- 
er at all? Sometimes the object has simply been space — the 
pressure of population upon the extent of ground. Pastoral 
and nomad hordes, like the ' ' Barbarians ' ' and Tartars, have 
had that object, but, as a rule, it has ended in their own ab- 
sorption. The motives of the Eoman Empire were strangely 
mixed. Plunder certainly came in; trade came in; in later 
times the slave-trade and the supply of corn to Eome were 
great incentives. The personal advantage and ambition of 
prominent statesmen like Sulla or Caesar were the true aim 
of many conquests. The extension of religion had nothing 
at all to do with it, for the Eomans had the decency to keep 
their gods to themselves and never slaughtered in the name 
of Jove. But they were compelled to Empire by a peculiar 
conviction of destiny. They did not destroy or subdue other 
peoples so much for glory as from a sense of duty. It was 
their Heaven-sent mission to rule. Their poet advised other 
nations to occupy themselves with wisdom, learning, statu- 
ary, the arts, or what they pleased; it was the Eoman 's task 



UNDER THE YOKE 259 

to hold the world in sway. To the Roman the object of Em- 
pire was Empire. It seemed to him the natural thing to con- 
quer every other nation, making the world one Rome. That 
was, in fact, his true religion, and we can but congratulate 
him on the unshaken faith of his self-esteem. The Turk, on 
the other hand, who was the next Imperial race, boasted no 
city and no self-conscious superiority of laws or race. He 
subdued the nations only in the name of God, and to all who 
accepted God he nobly extended the vision of Paradise and a 
complete equality of earthly squalor. The motives of medie- 
val and more recent conquests were the strangest of all. They 
were usually dynastic. They depended on the family claim 
of some family man to a title implying actual possession of 
another country and all its population. There was always 
one claimant against another claimant, this heir against that 
heir, as though the destinies of nationality could be settled 
by a line of parchment or a love-affair with a princess. Peo- 
ple grew so accustomed to this folly that even now we hardly 
realize its absurdity. Yet I suppose if the King of Spain 
left his kingdom by will to his well-beloved cousin George of 
England, not an English wherry would stir to take posses- 
sion, and our newspapers would merely remark that there 
was always a strain of insanity in the Spanish branch of the 
Bourbons. Two hundred years ago such a will would have 
produced a prolonged and devastating war. Something is 
gained. We have eliminated royal families from the motives 
of conquest. 

In the extension and maintenance of our own Empire all 
previous motives have been combined. "We have pleaded 
want of space; we have sought slaves either for export or 
for local labor; we have sought plunder and also trade or 
' ' markets " ; we have sought dumping - grounds for our 
wasters and careers for our public school-boys ; like the Turks 
and Spaniards, we have sought to promote the knowledge 
of our God by the slaughter and enslavement of his creat- 
ures ; like the Romans, we have thought it our manifest duty 
to paint the world red and rule it. But within the last sixty 
or seventy years we have added the further motive most 
aptly expressed by the late King Leopold of Belgium in the 
document by which he obtained his rights over the Congo: 
I mean ' ' the moral and material amelioration ' ' of the sub- 
ject peoples. That was a motive unknown to the ancients, 
though the Romans came near it when they granted equal 



260 THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW 

citizenship to all provincials — a measure far in advance of 
any concession of ours. And it was unknown to the Middle 
Ages, though Turks and Spaniards came near it when they 
destroyed the infidels for their good and opened heaven to 
converted slaves and corpses. To subjugate a nationality 
for its own moral and material advantage is something new 
in history. It sounds the true hypocritical note. That is not 
a pleasant note, but it is a sign of change, an evidence of 
hope. In the Boer War our real objects were to paint the 
country red on the maps and to exploit the gold-mines. But 
some people said we were fighting for equal rights; some 
said it was to insure good treatment for the natives; some 
thought we were Christianizing the Boers ; one man told me 
" the Boers wanted washing." All those excuses were false 
and hypocritical. But they were tributes to virtue. They 
were a recognition that the old motives of Empire no longer 
sufficed. They exposed the hypocrites themselves to the 
retort of serious and innocent people : — ' ' Very well, then. 
If these were your motives, give equal rights, protect the 
natives, Christianize the Boers, wash them if you can." It 
is a retort against which hypocrisy cannot long stand out. 
It proves that a new standard of judgment is slowly form- 
ing in the world. But for this new standard, where would 
be the Congo agitation, or the movement against the Portu- 
guese cocoa slavery or such sympathy as exists with the 
Nationalists of India? When the doctrines of equal rights 
or even of moral and material amelioration are assumed 
by hypocrisy, honesty will at last raise her protest and hypo- 
crites be no longer allowed to reap the harvest of a quiet lie. 
It is an advance. As history counts time it is a rapid ad- 
vance. Now that Russia is reducing Finland to a state of 
entire subjection without even a pretext of right or the 
shadow of a pretense at improved civilization, a general feel- 
ing of shame and loss pervades Europe. The governments 
do not move, but here and there the peoples raise a protest. 
Not even the most thorough-going champions of Imperial- 
ism, such as the Tim.es, ventured to defend the action. They 
contented themselves with Cain's excuse that the murder 
was no affair of ours. A century and a half ago they would 
not have needed an excuse. No protest would have been 
raised. It did not matter what nationality was enslaved. 
There is an advance ; we have now to extend it. In regard 
to races already subject, we have but to act up to the plead- 



UNDER THE YOKE 261 

ings of our own hypocrisy ; we have to maintain among them 
equal justice, equal rights and equal consideration as mem- 
bers of one great community, instead of depriving them of 
their manhood and kicking them out of their own railway 
carriages. We have to train them on the way to self-govern- 
ment, instead of clapping them into prison if they mention 
the subject. 

And in regard to nationalities that still retain their free- 
dom, we must bring our governments up into line with the 
leading thought of the day. We must show them that the 
destruction of a free people like Finland or Persia is not a 
local or distant disaster only, but affects the whole com- 
munity of nations and spreads like a poison, blighting the 
growth of freedom in every land and encouraging all the 
black forces of tyranny, darkness and suppression. Rapidly 
growing among us, there is already a certain solidarity of all 
free States, and the problem of the immediate future is how 
to make their common action effective on the side of liberty. 
When I saw Tolstoy during the Russian revolution of 1905 
he said to me : 

" The present movement in Russia is not a riot ; it is not even a revolu- 
tion; it is the end of an age. The age that is ending is the age of Empires 
— the collection of smaller States under one large State. There is no true 
community of heart or thought between Kussia, Finland, Poland, the 
Caucasus and all our other States and races. And what has Hungary, 
Bohemia, Syria or the Tyrol to do with Austria? No more than Canada, 
Australia, India or Ireland has to do with England. People are now 
beginning to see the absurdity of these things, and in the end people are 
reasonable. That is why the age of Empires is passing away." 

It was a bold prophecy, but it contains the root of the 
whole matter. Only where there is community of heart and 
thought is national or personal life possible in any worthy 
sense. Unless that community exists between the various 
nationalities within an Empire, we may be sure the Empire 
is moribund. It is dying, as Napoleon said, of indigestion, 
and that other community of the world which is slowly taking 
shape among free and reasonable peoples will demand its 
dissolution. Our hope is that the other community will 
further go on to demand that these disastrous experiments 
in the overthrow and subjection of free nationalities shall 
no longer be tolerated by the combined forces of freedom. 

Heney W. Nevinson.